Businesses around the country are scrutinizing annual employee performance reviews. Some call them outdated and ineffectual.


“It’s not surprising that many organizations are continually updating and revising their performance management systems in an effort to achieve better results and improve fairness and accuracy,” writes Rick Lepsinger for Business2Community.


Still, keeping some form of employee review process is crucial to offering your workers insight and allowing them to share their own feedback with managers about how they can contribute.


Eagle Hill Consulting found that about half of American workers want to keep formal review systems.


“Some 54 percent of those polled said they were pleased with their last performance review, and 65 percent believe their last review was an accurate reflection of their performance,” according to Eagle Hill.


So how can you make sure to squeeze all the value out of your performance management process while leaving the dusty, we’ve-always-done-it-this-way attitude behind?


“The annual performance system has to be replaced with something — and that something probably would take the form of formal and informal feedback sessions,” said Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill’s president and chief executive officer. “This is problematic for companies that lack an open and regular feedback culture.”


One idea: shake up the timing and frequency of your reviews. They can happen more than once a year.


“Requiring or encouraging managers to conduct periodic check-in meetings ties directly to perception that the system helps employees build their skills and competencies — a key driver of fairness, accuracy and overall value to the business,” Lepsinger writes. “It also increases the likelihood that the annual performance review discussion will be a productive dialogue, versus a surprise.”


Or, consider pulling more people into each review.


“A comprehensive performance review that includes other people the employee works with can help create a more rounded picture of employee performance,” writes George N. Root III for the Houston Chronicle. “Managers and employees in other departments with whom the employee does business on a regular basis and some of the employee’s peers within the office can offer insight that is valuable to an effective performance evaluation.”


And, as you do, keep the end goal in mind, write Tom Cooney and Crystal Faulkner for


“It is crucial to have employees that provide quality work and help a business improve its odds of success,” they write. “The goal of any performance review should be to effectively communicate performance while simultaneously providing general guidance and updates on talent development.”